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SANTA CLARA – The 49ers are holding out hope nose tackle Glenn Dorsey will be available to play late in the regular season, but the club believes it has plenty of options in case they get more bad news.
Dorsey is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair a torn biceps tendon in his left arm on Monday. The 49ers can determine later whether to keep the door open for his return.
“I think that’s part of the possibility,” 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “I think we’ll know more after that (surgery) happens what the prognosis or length of time will be.”
The 49ers would like to replace Dorsey with the player he replaced early last season. But Ian Williams has not yet been medically cleared to practice after sustaining a fractured lower leg in Week 2 at Seattle. He underwent a total of four surgical procedures since the injury.
“I expect him to continue to rehab with the trainers and strength staff, and hopefully at some point he’ll be ready to come back and start practicing,” Fangio said.
Williams appears to be rounding into shape during his rehab sessions on a side field.
“They tell me the progress has been steady,” Fangio said. “He had a setback early in the offseason. After that it set him back. So although it’s been almost 11 months since it happened, he had a little setback that put him behind.”
On Sunday, Mike Purcell and Quinton Dial saw action at nose tackle. Purcell was an undrafted free agent from Wyoming who spent last season on the practice squad.
Dial, a fifth-round pick last season, has shown tremendous strength on the practice field. At 6 foot 5, Dial must work on keeping his pad level low, Fangio said.
“He lines up a lot like a nose would at the defensive end position,” Fangio said. “His double teams come from a tackle (and) tight end, rather than a center-guard combination. I think he has the potential to do fine in there.”